President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, outclassed other interviewees to land the top post of chief operations officer of Air Zimbabwe. Transport Minister Joram Gumbo, Chikore said Chikore was the best candidate for the job. Gumbo dismissed as baseless suggestions that Chikore landed the job due to his close links with the First Family.

Gumbo said Chikore was one of the 134 applicants who applied and attended interviews conducted by the board and a team of consultants.“He has a lot of experience in the aviation industry that he gained initially at Air Zimbabwe, and subsequently with international airlines like Qatar.

Simba ChikoreHe excelled during the interview, and we are satisfied that his credentials actually surpass the required qualifications,” said Dr Gumbo.He said the appointment had nothing to do with his relationship with the First Family where he is a son-in -law.

“We appointed him in his own right as Simba Chikore. Remember, he is a Zimbabwean who is entitled to take up any job as long as those offering it are satisfied that he is the best person. Remember, in any society, there are relations and that should not distract us from appointing competent people.

“There is nothing untoward about that. In any case, the President is my nephew. Can people therefore objectively allege that I was appointed in irregular circumstances? We cannot deny someone a job on the basis that he is related to another person even when we are satisfied that he is the best for the post,” said Gumbo.

Little is known about Chikore’s aviation background. Chikore is now the second in
command at the struggling national airline.Chikore’s appointment follows the August appointment of Ripton Muzenda, the son of Mugabe’s late, long-serving deputy Simon Muzenda as chief executive.Chikore married Mugabe’s only daughter Bona in March 2014. At the time, state media quoted Mugabe as saying the two had met during an Air Zimbabwe flight to Malawi a few years ago.

Unconfirmed media reports say Chikore subsequently left Air Zimbabwe for a major Gulf airline, although a report by the UK’s Daily Telegraph seemed to cast doubts on these reports.

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